Ex-school head faces charges

2013-08-15 00:00

PARENTS at Piet Retief School in Napierville have said they intend to pursue criminal charges against the former school principal André Dreyer.

This emerged at a parents’ meeting at the school on Tuesday night.

Many parents learnt for the first time that Dreyer had been under suspension since March this year. He was to have faced a disciplinary hearing at the Education Department on allegations of financial irregularities and allegations of racism.

However, what angered the parents was a letter read out at the meeting in which it was alleged that Dreyer was allowed by a KZN Education Department official to backdate his letter of resignation and that he had walked away without facing his disciplinary hearing. The parents are demanding answers from the Education Department as to how this could have happened. They plan to march to the Umgungundlovu District office to demand answers.

Chairperson of the School Governing Body (SGB) Vusi Sikhakhane explained that there had been a number of complaints against Dreyer, not only from the present SGB but from the former SGB as well. In addition, there were complaints from both present and former staff.

The Education Department conducted an investigation and a report was compiled. On the basis of the investigation, Dreyer was suspended. Sikhakhane apologised to parents for not keeping them informed. He said the investigation was of a sensitive nature and the SGB did not want to undermine the process.

However, it has since been completed and the final report contained allegations of cronyism, racism and financial irregularities.

The parents resolved that they would engage the services of legal experts to assess the evidence of wrongdoing and on the basis of that they would pursue criminal charges.

At the same time, they will also push the Education Department to pursue the matter and hold a disciplinary hearing against Dreyer. They also want the department to investigate the circumstances of how Dreyer was allowed to resign.

There are also plans for a march as many parents say they want to highlight what has been going on at the school. They said they are angry that they have been kept in the dark for so long. As a parent said, “It is our money … and we are worried about whether it has been mismanaged. We are not going to leave this to department officials to pursue, but will engage our own lawyers and we are willing to pay if needs be,” he said.

An e-mail questioning the department on Dreyer’s resignation and the dropped disciplinary hearing was sent to the department, but officials failed to respond by the time of going to press.

Dreyer was also contacted, but he said he was unable to hear the reporter. Subsequent calls to his cellphone went unanswered. The Witness has been aware of the allegations made against Dreyer since May. There were attempts then to get hold of him and SMSes were sent to his phone inquiring about the allegations. He did not contact the newspaper.

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